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Region: Maine Lakes and Mountains
Length: 21 miles
Travel Time: 3 hours
Highlights: bicycling, foliage viewing, golf, hiking trails, lake, pond, river views, mountain views, skiing, state/national park, wildlife
Side Trips: Spruce Meadow (for picknicking); Appalachian Trail, Grafton Loop Trail - a 42-mile hiking trail that connects the Applachian Trail to some of the region's most impressive peaks; Deertrees Theatre, Sunday River Resort; Sunday River covered bridge
Once a route marked by swift-moving rivers flowing through the mountain valley, the Grafton Notch scenic byway begins in Newry, just north of the Sunday River Ski Area, and travels along Route 26 to Grafton Notch State Park and Lake Umbagog, which crosses the New Hampshire border. This byway follows along the Bear River for much of the trip.
Travelers along this route should be sure to stop at Grafton Notch State Park for a picnic and a walk along the river, or a short hike to Screw Auger Falls and Mother Walker Falls.
Journeying along this rural two-lane road, a traveler gets a feeling for how beautiful — and challenging — life must have been for the region’s early settlers. Crumbled foundations of old farmhouses and weathered stone walls mark the landscape, much of which is now either a designated state park or privately-owned working forestland.
Originally a path defined by glaciers and swift-moving rivers that cut through the mountains and lead to lush valley farmlands, this route begins just a few miles north of the Sunday River Resort and travels along Route 26 leading into Grafton Notch State Park and to the border with New Hampshire. The Bear River parallels the road for much of the way. Visitors traveling through Grafton Notch State Park should be sure to stop and explore the short hiking paths leading to the park’s sights, including Screw Auger Falls and Mother Walker Falls.
Bethel Area Chamber of commerce